Our own personal lockdown

 A week ago today I realised once and for all that leaving Ash on his own was no longer an option.  

I'd arranged to go for coffee with a friend.  We weren't going far and I wasn't going to be long but as I left the house I saw the panic on Ash's face and he was holding back tears.  Friend and I spent a lovely couple of hours drinking coffee and catching up but all the time Ash was at the back of my mind and I knew I couldn't do that to him again.

Got home and messaged those I meet up with on a weekly basis, either for walks, lunches or coffees, and said that from now on I would be confined to barracks and then settled down waiting for boredom to set in.

You might be thinking from all I've told you that my life has become ever more difficult and that's exactly how I thought things would be but the reality is that life has become infinitely easier.  Over the past seven days the only time I've left Ash on his own was yesterday when I had to go and collect my car from the garage.  That time he opted to stay at home and I wasn't gone long so he coped but other than that I've been here and he's been more settled than I've seen him for a very long time.

One of the things that used to drive me crazy was when he asked the question 'what are we doing today?'.  That question came every single  morning but I realised yesterday that, over the last week, he hasn't asked it once.  He hasn't seemed anxious even for a moment and it's obvious he feels absolutely and completely safe.

So my life is narrower than I ever would have thought possible but things could be so much worse and I find myself enjoying being at home.  We've created a new seating area in the garden and spend a lot of time up there with the radio.  I've taken up reading again and am getting through books at a rate of knots, the garden is looking good and we discuss what we're going to do next out there.

Life isn't perfect of course and there are certainly things I'd rather be doing and places I'd love to be seeing but we're having a nice time and, in the circumstances, I don't think I can ask for much more.

One of the best things about it all though is the way people have rallied round.  The friends I meet for walks live furthest away but are coming here for our catch ups or we're chatting via video, more local friends are coming here for a weekly coffee morning rather than meeting outside the village and everyone is making sure I don't get cabin fever.  This helps more than they could possibly know.

As for me I've decided, in place of the walks, I'm going to take up running again.  It will mean leaving Ash but only for half an hour and I think, for the moment at least, he'll be ok with that.  In addition to that I've downloaded a new app to my phone which promises to teach me all sorts of way to stay calm.  

Watch this space to see how it all goes.

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Cornwall Girl said…
It was inevitable that this would happen but boy you have managed it well . Well done Jane.I also found it easier when I was confined to barracks less stree all round. Strangely even though we are a lot further down the road that you I have also found not having a carer in place made Graham calmer as well. Its not possible for safety reasons to continue without a carer due mobility issues and I now have a carer again after three weeks but it was fine just the two of us. Life works in mysterious ways..... Big hug to you both .
Tehachap said…
Thanks for being here. I never gave much thought to the fact that Robert asks most evenings, "What's on the schedule for tomorrow?" He'll ask again the next morning and now I know that these repeat questions gives him a feeling of control of his life, the routine being pretty much the same each day. I take it that Ash has moved back into his previous condition--he seems to be less independent than he has been these past couple of weeks. Take care...
KathS said…
For us it was the time that I went to choir practice for two hours and when I got back he wasn't there. He'd gone out to look for me. He often says things like 'Well I'm going out now, I don't know when I'll be back'. He's desperate to assert his independence.
Jane said…
The independence thing and wanting to feel in control is so difficult isn't it. For the last four years at least Ash has fought his dementia every step of the way and it's only now, when I think he's slipped into another stage, that he seems to be accepting his limitations. It really does make life so much easier.